Team still searching for balance, consistency after Spring Spectacular

The Marquette golf team struggled with consistency in the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular last weekend, finishing 11th in the field of 18 teams.

Spending spring break in the Florida sunshine was enjoyable for the Golden Eagles, but coach Steve Bailey said his squad dwelled too heavily on its errors at times.

“We had a lot of positive vibes going in, and we prepared as best we could,” Bailey said. “Guys showed up at different times. We had good stretches of play, but unfortunately we’re a little fragile, and instead of taking our medicine and fixing mistakes we compound those mistakes.”

Marquette’s most balanced performance came from freshman Zach Gaugert, who finished in a tie for 32nd on the individual leaderboard with an overall score of 225.

On the par-72 course, Gaugert led off with a 74 in the first round then followed with a 75 in the second and 76 in the third. Gaugert said his strength off the tee put him into solid starting position on each hole.

“I think my ball striking was phenomenal last weekend,” Gaugert said. “I lost one ball off the tee; it went out of bounds, and that was it for the three rounds. I really set myself up for good looks at birdies all weekend.”

Gaugert said his success on holes nine and 10 helped him keep a steady rhythm overall.

“I birdied both of those holes twice,” Gaugert said. “I think those were two very difficult holes that you had to play really well in order to place high in the field.”

Down the stretch, Gaugert credited putting mistakes to his slight decline from round to round.

“My finishing wasn’t great as the tournament progressed,” Gaugert said. “I had a few bogies down the stretch that were just laziness in my putting, and I think that’s what cost me those few strokes.”

Aside from Gaugert and Pat Sanchez, who scored a 229, the rest of the team recorded at least one 80+ round each. Gaugert said the team’s starts off the tee hurt them overall.

“I think we had too many balls that went into hazards or out of bounds off the tee,” Gaugert said. “Just a couple wayward tee shots got us off to bad starts right away.”

Bailey said Marquette still needs to work on ball control as well as keeping a level head when faced with deficits and mental errors.

“The biggest thing we can go work on is minimizing our mistakes when we’re in trouble,” Bailey said. “We also need to continue to work on control over our golf ball. That’s been a common theme for us and we’ve put a lot of time and effort into those areas.”

Indiana took the No. 1 spot with an overall score of 869. With a score of 918, Marquette finished above Morehead State, Connecticut, Western Illinois, Stetson, George Mason, Northern Illinois and Rutgers.

The Golden Eagles next hit the links Sunday at the C&F Bank Intercollegiate in Williamsburg, Va.